Cowichan Cougars fall to Castaways in return after winter break

Jen Bayley scored the Cowichan Cougars’ lone goal in a 3-1 loss to first-place Castaways last Friday. (Citizen file)

Jen Bayley scored the Cowichan Cougars’ lone goal in a 3-1 loss to first-place Castaways last Friday. (Citizen file)

Winter weather played havoc with the Cowichan Cougars last Friday as they prepared for their first O30A women’s soccer game since the Christmas break.

Snow in the Cowichan Valley made it difficult for some players to make the trip to Victoria, while the Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association pondered cancelling the match against first-place Castaways altogether.

“The main concern is always about player safety,” Cougars coach Darian Achurch noted. “The league wants to make sure the Malahat is in good shape before a team has to travel over it for a game.”

When it was determined that the game was a go, the team scrambled to find enough players, and ended up taking just 11 to Victoria. Despite being short-staffed, the Cougars got off to an excellent start and led 1-0 at halftime on a goal by Jen Bayley.

“It was a wonderful effort by Tonya [Kilmer] to set up the cross down the wing,” Bayley commented. “I just had to run hard to get my foot on it.”

After the break, Castaways redoubled their efforts to break down Cowichan’s defence, and were rewarded with two goals in the first 15 minutes.

Castaways added a later goal to seal the victory, but were very congratulatory to the Cougars players for the effort they put forth. Cowichan will look to bounce back next Sunday with an away game against Gorge.

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